Monday Morning Questions Post: OK Jaanu Week Edition!

Happy OK Jaanu Week!  I was looking forward to the break after Dangal to catch my breath between releases, but after 3 weeks, I am ready for something new to come out!  To celebrate, let’s ask and answer some questions! (full list of previous Monday questions available here)

Feel free to ask anything here, from the personal (“what is your favorite remake?”) to the specific (“why are you asking about remakes on OK Jaanu week?”) to the general discussion types (“is remaking films from other languages in Hindi a good way of bringing these stories to a larger audience, or just making it easier for the audience to ignore the original version?”).

The only rule is, you have to let me answer first!  Otherwise it’s no fun for me.  Besides that, ask whatever you want!

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7 thoughts on “Monday Morning Questions Post: OK Jaanu Week Edition!

  1. I’ve been collecting DVDs (now Blu-rays) since about ’99 and I must have a couple thousand (I couldn’t even begin to estimate). I turned the office in my basement into a full-blown library. I’ve slowed down substantially since having kids, and also since so many brick and mortar places to make purchases have closed down. Ordering online has been good for the bank account but I’ve lost that ‘thrill of the hunt’ of going to stores on a Saturday afternoon, looking for treasures. I only have about 30 Hindi movies (with a few more on the way from Christmas money). I have been very picky, only getting absolute favorites, and limiting it to blu-rays. The prices from India are great, but the ‘per item’ shipping and conversion to Canadian dollars kills me. If there were actual stores I could buy from around here, it would probably get out of hand!

    My question: how immense is your Indian film collection? I imagine with all the years you’ve been watching, and with your access to stores, it really must be something!

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    • I think I tip over towards about 300-350 Hindi DVDs at this point. Another 50 songs DVDs. And another couple dozen regional DVDs. And about 200 non-Indian DVDs, but who cares about those 🙂 They were mostly acquired in 3 different ways:

      1. Careful shopping at stores and websites for particular films I really really wanted.

      2. Mass purchases on websites. Eros Entertainment used to have a direct order website, and they had sales like “Buy 100 DVDs, get everything half price”. My sister and I would go in together and buy everything that we were vaguely interested in seeing at some point. This was also back when DVDs were just starting to get really cheap, especially for the more A- or B level films. So if we could buy it for $6-$8, or rent it for $5, we figured we might as well buy. This is how I ended up with random movies like Aap Mujhe Aache Lagne Lage or Jaanwar or Asambhav. They aren’t things I necessarily sought out or really really wanted, but they were cheap and looked interesting. Nowadays, for films like that, I would just watch them once on ErosNow and then decide if I want to buy them, so my purchases of B movies have really slowed down.

      3. Mass purchases on my two trips to India. I went to India for the first time back in 2009, when they still had a lot of DVDs in stores. I went to a Landmark Books (kind of like a Borders or a Barnes and Noble) and bought up every book in their “film section”, and then spent two hours browsing through every single DVD on their shelves and buying anything that was cheap or looked rare. This is how I ended up with a copy of Maya Memsaab, for instance. I wish I could go back in time to that now, I still wasn’t as knowledgeable as I am now (heck, the books I bought that day alone greatly increased my knowledge!) so I know there were films that now I would be drooling over that I just passed up because the cover didn’t look interesting.

      My second trip to India was a couple years ago, and I was super prepared. I had an actual list of films I wanted, plus just a sort of mental checklist of what else I should get if it was there. But unfortunately the DVD selection was much much worse. It’s worse in American stores too, of the 5 stores I used to shop at back when I first got into the films 12 years ago, there are now only 2 left, and their DVD selection is about a third of what it used to be. And nobody rents any more. Now, if people just want to watch the movie, they stream it online. And if they want a really really good copy, they buy the blu-ray. But the sort of A- and B level movies I want to own on DVD just aren’t available. Anyway, on this trip to India I struck out on getting copies of all sorts of B films I was hoping to pick up for cheap. But I lucked out with classics. YRF and some other companies have started selling these massive sets. So, for instance, I got the ENTIRE Raj Kapoor collection in one huge box. The DVDs aren’t the highest quality, but it broke down to about 50 cents per DVD, and now I own the entire Raj Kapoor collection! So it was worth it. I also got an “Hindi Films in Black and White” box, which is amazing, it’s got all these obscure hits from the early years. But no luck on finding a cheap copy of, for instance, Love Love Love (terrible early Juhi and Aamir film that I want to watch for curiosity’s sake).

      Currently my collection at home is better than most video stores. And I have subscriptions to all the streaming sites, ErosNow and einthusan and so on for the newer stuff that I’m not sure if I want to buy or not. And there are more and more new releases available on googleplay or Netflix. So the only things I want on DVD are the really really hard to find things. Like, there are only a few copies still in existence because only about a thousand were printed up 5 years ago kind of rare. It’s funny, I go into these stores or give a list to my desi friends and warn them “these are really really really hard to find”. And they get all cocky like “crazy white girl, thinks its hard to find just because she doesn’t know where to look”. And then they come back to me months later and go “yeah, I couldn’t find any of these.” I’m just going through that now, trying to get a refund from a website because almost everything I ordered from them is out of print and they still had it listed by accident. They must have gotten this huge order and been super excited, and then discovered as they went through the list that all 12 films I wanted were just plain not in existence any more.

      I’ve had the best luck with ordering from Indian websites and having them shipped to people I know while they are staying in India. And then they ship it to me, or bring it back in their suitcase. But again, I have to get into a big fight over it! Because they always say “no no, don’t bother ordering online, I am sure I can find it in a store.” And then I have to go around and around convincing them “no, you really really can’t find this in a store. I am ordering the only copy in existence in all of India from some store in Calcutta, just let me do this and wait for the package to be delivered.”

      On Mon, Jan 9, 2017 at 11:02 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Wow great answer! This sort of thing interests me as much as anything! Did you ever end up watching Love Love Love? There’s a really good print with subtitles on the Shemaroo youtube page. I watched it a few months ago when I was on an Aamir kick. Aamir and Juhi did the best they could. The songs are fantastically ridiculous, Hindi rhythms and vocals mixed with an 80’s Italo Disco flavor. And I enjoyed it more than Tum Mere Ho (and actually made it all the way through)!

        I think streaming services are great for previewing movies but I’m always terrified that one day I’ll wake up and they’ll pull all my favorites down. It happened last year with Netflix- all of a sudden 50 movies were yanked at the same time. That’s when I started buying some of these Hindi films. I just know I’ll watch Dil to Pagal Hai 50 more times before I die! At least that’s how I rationalize it. I’m a collector at heart.

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        • No, I still haven’t seen Love Love Love. The tragedy of my life! Part of the reason I like buying DVDs is it feels like I really really have to see the movie, if I have the DVD case staring at me. With my newer orders, I won’t even put the DVDs away, I will just leave them sitting next to the TV until I watch them.

          I know what you mean about the streaming services. That’s why I bought a copy of Dhanak, even though it’s on Netflix and probably will stay there for the foreseeable future, I would be so depressed if it suddenly weren’t available. Plus, now that I have learned these DVDs I always thought I would be able to pick up suddenly disappear a few years after they come out, I am more conscious of picking things up when I see them. Jhankaar Beats, for instance, I always sort of meant to get around to buying but I figured there was no hurry because it was always available. And then suddenly it wasn’t available anywhere.

          On Mon, Jan 9, 2017 at 12:08 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. Your comments about trying to track down B movies really intrigued me. What are some of your favorite Hindi ‘B’ movies from, say, the 90’s? I’m a big fan of the grindhouse, horror and exploitation movies made in the 70s and 80s in America (well, mostly). I know that there are some real gems to be found outside of the mainstream. I’ll bet there are tons of those little treasures, just beneath the surface, in Indian cinema!

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    • I was thinking “Oh, I’ll just stroll over to my DVD shelves and look for the ones I really like to list off for you”, and then I remembered I HAVE NO FLOORS, and therefore cannot reach my DVD shelf from my exile in my parents’ apartment.

      So, let me see what I can remember. First, I should clarify that these aren’t really “B” movies the way American films would be. They were made with as much money and care and so on as films that turned out to be “A” movies, they just didn’t end up being quite as good or quite as critically acclaimed in later years. I use “B” as kind of a catchall term for the films that don’t get the full fancy DVD retrospective treatment and so on.

      Okay, I remember the 3rd film on my shelf (after 1942 and 3 Idiots) is Aap Mujhe Aache Lagne Lage, which was cranked out after Kaho Na Pyar Hai on top of Hrithik fever. But it’s surprisingly good! By Vikram Bhatt, same director as Ghulam. Moving along through the As, Asambhav is delightfully stupid, Aitraaz is even stupider and more fun. Bal Brahmachari starts of the Bs I think, and it is the worst movie I have ever seen. A complete joy. Oh! “The Fog”! By the Ramsey Brothers (famous producers of terrible horror movies), starring IRRFAN KHAN, of all people! If you can track down a copy (it took me YEARS), it is super super fun. Cs and Ds, I can’t think of anything (unless you count the Dhoom movies, which are dumb in their own way). E….can’t think of anything. F, I can’t remember anything. G, oh! Guddu! Which reminds me, also Chaahat! I forgot because they are off on the Shahrukh shelf. Guddu is a bit of a slog, but Chaahat is AWESOME! So over the top, Shahrukh is a poor innocent convinced to sell his body. And he sings to a puppy! And Dil Aashna Hai! Another super fun one, which is very hard to find on DVD.

      H, h, h, I feel like there is something but I can’t remember it. I, nothing rings a bell. J, JAANWAR!!!! A must watch! K, not remembering anything. L, nothing. Well, maybe Laawaris? A lessor Amitabh movie, a remake of Arthur. M, nothing comes to mind. N, nothing. But I just remembered another K! Kya Kehna! Priety Zinta’s first film, very odd. Oh, and Dil! Which was actually a big hit for Aamir, but it’s not that great looking back on it. Ooooooo…..nothing. Ppppppp….nothing. Oh! Pyar Impossible! Not that great, but very endearing. Q is QURBANI!!!!! The GREATEST MOVIE EVER!!!!! If you are talking about ridiculous over the top 80s action movies. R, maybe Rishtay? It’s an Anil Kapoor/Manisha Koirala/Shilpa Shetty movie. S is of course Sssssshhh. T, Tarzan: The Wonder Car. It’s everything you would expect from the title! U, I have no idea. V, I got nothing. W, I got nothing. X, it feels like there should be something, but nothing. Xpose maybe? Oh! Which reminds me of another one back in the alphabet, China Town! Not the classic black and white one, the bad one with Kareena and Shahid. Y, Yaadein! It was a minor hit when it came out, but it is not a good movie. And Z, Zamana Deewana. I LOVE that movie!

      Okay, that is way too confusing to read, let me put it out in alphabetical order:

      A…..Aap Mujhe Aache Lagne Lage, Aitraaz, Asambhac
      B….Bal Brahmachari
      C….Chaahat, China Town
      D….Dil, Dil Aashna Hai
      E….Nothing
      F….The Fog
      G….Guddu
      H….Nothing
      I….Nothing
      J….Jaanwar
      K…Kya Kehna
      L…..Laawaris
      M…Nothing
      O…Nothing
      P….Pyar Impossible
      Q….Qurbani (SO GOOD)
      R….Rishtay
      S….Ssssssh
      T….Tarzan: The Wonder Car
      U,V,W,X….Nothing
      Y….Yaadein
      Z….Zamana Deewana

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      • That is some list! I have Kya Kehna and Rishtey on my hard drive (I must have saved them from Youtube). I remember checking the quality of Rishtey and I ended up watching the first ten or fifteen minutes. The songs sound great. Dil and Pyaar Impossible are on Spuul so I can watch those ones easily as well. I have heard that there are a couple of Flea Markets around Toronto that have booths of old Hindi and other Indian movies. When I make it up there, I’ll definitely have lots to look for!

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